May 21, 2004
New Winter Break Could Be Disruptive
NZEI Te Riu Roa, the union representing support staff in secondary schools, and area school teachers as well as primary school staff, is concerned about some aspects of proposals to change the school term.
The Acting Minister has announced that state school terms will change from 2006, with the school year to begin and end slightly later, and with an extra week’s break in term three for secondary schools.
President Colin Tarr says starting slightly later will avoid the stop-start disruption that Waitangi day can cause in the first week of school.
“This is a sensible move that will be welcomed by schools”, he says.
“Children have often just settled into the year when they get a public holday.”
Additionally, some families delay their return from holiday until after Waitangi day, which can also be a problem for schools.
However, NZEI Te Riu Roa sees problems with the proposal to introduce a week’s break in August for secondary schools, to fit in with winter sports tournaments..
Full details of dates are not yet available, but a spokesperson from the Minister of Education’s office says the break would be in the middle of term three.
The union sees a one-week break in the middle of the term as disruptive for its members in secondary and area schools, and for parents.
“It would impact on families with both primary and secondary aged children with a flow-on effect onto primary schools”, says Colin Tarr.
“The union would prefer the suggestion put forward by the PPTA Principals’ Council, that the July secondary holidays be made three weeks long instead of two.”